Earth Fare Oldsmar officially opens in Woodlands Square Plaza

Earth Fare Oldsmar officially opened in the Woodlands Square Plaza on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. The 24,000-sq.-ft. store is the 43rd location for the North Carolina based organic grocer and second in the Tampa Bay area.

The new Earth Fare Oldsmar store officially opened on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 3136 Tampa Road in the revamped Woodlands Square shopping plaza.

The 24,000-sq.-ft. store created more than 100 new jobs and features thousands of healthy and organic items, all free of high fructose corn syrup, artificial fats and trans-fats, and artificial colors, preservatives and sweeteners, including more than 750 products from the company’s private brand.

Earth Fare Oldsmar offers thousands of healthy products, including many locally sourced items.

The Oldsmar store is the second location in the Tampa Bay area for the North Carolina based chain following one in Seminole last October, and it is one of eight the rapidly expanding company is opening this year, bringing its total to 43 locations in nine states.

According to Earth Fare President and CEO Frank Scorpiniti, the Oldsmar location made sense for several reasons.

“We opened one year ago in Seminole and (Oldsmar) Mayor (Doug) Bevis was there,” Scorpiniti said during a press event the day before the store’s grand opening. “We chatted, and he expressed the healthy focus of his community and thought they would benefit from this.”

“We were aware of the availability of this location, and our studies told us it was health-focused here,” he added. “As we looked into the area, we realized a lot of people really wanted healthier options, and it was a vibrant community with a healthy lifestyle. And to have (the mayor’s) vote of confidence that we’d fit in the community, it makes you feel good.”

Scorpiniti, who has been with the 42-year-old company for three years, stressed the importance of Earth Fare’s Food Philosophy, which forbids harmful chemicals and ingredients from making their way onto the shelves and is reportedly one of the strictest such policies in the county.

“We’re hunting down the healthiest, cleanest food we can get,” he said, noting they use locally sourced suppliers whenever possible, including meat, dairy, poultry and sea food vendors.

“There’s absolutely no gray area. Our motto is ‘we read the labels so you don’t have to.’”

Earth Fare Oldsmar offers thousands of healthy products, including pizza, wings and meals-to-go.

Indeed, walking the aisles of the shiny new store, it’s impossible not to notice the company’s commitment to providing only healthy products, as Earth Fare Oldsmar offers everything from organic juices and smoothies and homemade nut butters to grass-fed meats and hundreds of gluten and GMO-free items.

Even the health and beauty products are all organic and gluten-free and come with an on-site wellness specialist to assist with selections.

In addition, hundreds of bulk items such as seeds, nuts candies and coffee, plus a pizza oven, sandwich bar, a meals-to-go section and daily, weekly and monthly specials such as the .98-cent baguette, are designed to make healthy shopping more affordable, also.

Earth Fare spokesperson Laurie Akers demonstrates the homemade nut butter machine in the new Oldsmar store.

“Our goal is to make healthy eating easy and accessible to everyone,” Earth Fare spokesperson Laurie Aker explained.

“We use the highest quality meats and seafood that are traceable from farm to fork and boat to fork, and we try to bring in as many local vendors as we can,” she added, noting the company is utilizing 25 local or regional vendors for the Oldsmar location.

Akers mentioned another important aspect of the Earth Fare philosophy, the Community Advisory Board, which is comprised of locals who know the community well and collaborate with company officials as to what should, or shouldn’t, be in the store.

One member of Oldsmar’s 14-person committee praised the idea.

“Earth Fare’s creation of a Community Advisory Board is a unique and clever concept that shows they are committed to serving the needs of the community,” Paula Saracki, wife of Oldsmar Vice-Mayor Dan Saracki and president of Impact Graphx, said. “Who better to promote their brand than the end-users?”

Saracki added in the meetings leading up to the grand opening, company officials “listened to our ideas and answered our questions. The grand opening was organized, the samples were delicious, and their prices are affordable. I am excited to have Earth Fare in the neighborhood!”

The ribbon cutting at the New Earth Fare Oldsmar location featured Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis (green shirt) and Earth Fare president and CEO Frank Scorpiniti (center, blue suit). (Credit: Ann Nixon/City of Oldsmar)

The Community Advisory Board is a good idea because in the long run, it will be the users that determine Earth Fare Oldsmar’s success.

But with a brand-new store in a revamped plaza in a city dedicated to health and wellness, the company and the community appear to be a good fit.

“We think its a health-focused market, and there’s an energy in this community that we’re excited about,” Scorpiniti said.

“I think it’s neat they came into the city and that plaza,” Mayor Bevis said.

“I think it speaks a lot for our community. I’m excited about it.”

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